• US coal miners enjoying bumper profits as demand rises

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The Financial Times has reported on the high profits that US coal mining companies have been making in the last year, with some companies achieving their best financial results in decades. High demand, largely due to high gas prices, coupled with a halving of output from the industry over the last decade, has produced high coal prices – by some accounts the highest in 20 years.

With prices expected to remain high in the short to medium term, coal production is projected to increase this year and next, after power generation from coal firing grew last year for the first time since 2014 (and the amount of coal burned increased by around 20%, to 457 million metric tonnes). Two of the larger coal miners, Peabody Energy and Arch Resources, both made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits last year, reversing losses from previous years.

While the boom, which mirrors similar booms for oil and gas, will be sweet for US coal miners for now, analysts expect it to be relatively short lived, as close to half of the US’s coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to close by 2030, and around 90% of coal mined in the country is used for power generation.